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TIPS: The economy and the pandemic 29 June – 12 July 2020


KEY FINDINGS
On the pandemic
* Daily growth in reported new cases has exceeded 7% a day in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West, and was at 5% in the Eastern Cape. Total reported cases more than doubled over the past two weeks to reach 264 000, while the seven-day rolling average of new cases climbed from 5 000 on 26 June to 11 000 on 12 July. For the week to 11 July, South Africa reported more new
cases per million people than the United States or Brazil, which have been famously unable to control the spread of COVID-19.
* Newly diagnosed cases have essentially plateaued in the Western Cape since 20 June at around 1 200 a day. As a result, the Western Cape’s share of new cases reported in South Africa fell from half a month ago to a sixth in the past week.
* The divergent regional trends raised the question of how to understand the factors driving infection rates. The much-heralded “peak” is, after all, only visible when the number of new cases starts to fall. In contrast to seasonal flu or diseases like measles, for which preventative measures exist, the only way to bring down the number of cases is behavioural change on a mass scale. Yet the government reimposed limited restrictions on especially risky activities only on 12 July, six weeks after the growth in new cases began to escalate.

TIPS: The economy and the pandemic 29 June – 12 July 2020